What Are the Outré Bloodlines?
Outré bloodlines are extended families – each of which is widely believed to be descended from a common ancestor. Each bloodline is identified by its mystic tie to an aspect of reality. Because of their connection to these forces, Outré auras are significantly stronger than normal. So much so that most Outré also develop the ability to see auras in order to recognize one another. Most Outré practice their powers as extensions of their auras, and train to use the aura as the storage space for their particular flavor of energy.
Sandmen, scions of dream: Tied to the mystic powers of dreams, Sandmen are primarily a mental bloodline with very little physical power. Sandmen who develop powers start with the ability to observe the dreams of someone sleeping near them. As they explore further, they learn to force dream-like hallucinations upon waking individuals. A very strong-willed Sandman can force a waking individual to fall asleep, but that’s generally the only physical power a Sandman can develop. Unlike most bloodlines who remain fractured, the Sandmen were able to find each other through a shared dream realm. This allowed them to come together in the late 1960s organizing into an Agency-like structure and secretly selling their espionage services.
Reapers, scions of death: Tied to the powers of death, a Reaper’s first ability flares to life when someone nearby dies. If the young Reaper is fairly strong, he or she may see death creep up on the person before it happens. Even if they cannot presage the death, the core Reaper ability allows them to see the spirit of the deceased separate from the body. Some Reapers choose to help the spirit pass on, others may be paralyzed by fear or dread, still others may try to assert command over the spirit. Regardless, they cannot deny what they’ve seen. Aside from the ability to see death, most of the rest of a Reaper’s powers will be very physical. Because death carries so many negative connotations, Reapers are a very fractured and secretive bloodline. The way they develop and use their powers remains highly regional.
Oracles, scions of insight: Another bloodline renown for mental powers, Oracles have visions. Some are more adept at seeing the present at far distances, others can at predicting the future or read the past of an object. Oracles are by far the most perceptive when it comes to detecting nearby Outré abilities in use.
Temptresses, scions of emotion: An unfortunate moniker they cannot shake, Temptresses bridge the gap between mental and physical abilities. They have the ability to enhance and manipulate emotions at close range, but it always seems tied to their target’s bodily reactions. Most Temptresses are strongest with one emotion over all others, and in certain regions they may be known exclusively for that emotion. Wrath and Lust vie for the most common. Males are called Tempters.
Sirens, scions of music: One of the most physical bloodlines, Sirens are all very musical. They are the only bloodline with individuals who might not “see” auras, instead hearing short informative medleys for people they meet. Young Sirens usually realize they’re different when their body generates a destructive noise in defense against some threat. For some, it’s a concussive drumbeat. For others, it’s an ear-shattering screech. Sirens tend to develop either fine control, such as the ability to whistle a seven-part symphony or throw their voice across the room, or they develop raw, cacophonous blasts of powerful sound. The elders who can do both are old and dangerous, able to enrapture and mesmerize audiences while literally bringing down the building around them.
Myrmidons, scions of battle: Last of the major bloodlines, the Myrmidons are entirely physical. Theirs are the powers of combat. Each starts with uncanny battle reflexes, but it quickly grows into supernatural mastery of one aspect of combat. Some become blademasters, others gunslinging legends. The rarest are those who master strategy and wield battalions and armies with godlike precision.
Everyone has an aura. Normal folks have weak, thin auras that are often only detectable when emotions run high. By contrast, Outré have very strong auras. Margaret, Janet (Agent Sopora/Somnoleni), and James have the exceptionally rare ability to dampen their auras, allowing them to pass as normal people. Margaret’s the only one who can keep hers dampened while unconscious, though Janet was well on her way towards mastering that talent. James, unfortunately, has a long way to go.
In addition to seeing Auras, most Outré can see when other powers are in use nearby. Just as we normal people have varying levels of visual acuity, individual Outré vary in how sensitive they are when picking out powers.
A Note on Outré Powers -or- Why Don’t All Sandmen Have the Same Powers
Think about guitar players. Sure, really good guitarists are probably gifted with some natural talent that’s just in their blood, but most of it comes down to training. A cowboy who picks up an acoustic guitar and trains as a country musician is a very different artist than a band leader with an electric guitar trained as a rock-n-roll player. They are vastly different guitar players, but they’re still lumped together under the aegis of “guitar.”
A Reaper who trains the ability to “bring about the death of objects” will have powers of corrosion and decay. By contrast, a Reaper who masters the ability to control and command the undead, while still a Reaper, is a very different individual.
How does this relate to the Outré?
Historically, people lived close together and learned from each other. It makes a lot of sense that Reapers in the Carpathian region, possibly even living under Prince Vlad Tepes himself, might have all learned the same blood-based death powers thanks to their shared cultural heritage. They might even consider themselves a whole separate bloodline with death-related powers. They are going to be very different Reapers from the Pharaonic death cults of Egypt, who in turn are vastly different from the Valkyrie of the north.
In this current generation where information is suddenly so accessible, Outré powers are starting to diversify widely based on desires, wishes, training, and changing global identities. Having more access to information previous generations could not have ever imagined has given young Outré innumerable ideas for developing their powers.